Since 2011, the Edinburgh Film Festival’s Talent Lab has nurtured a number of rising filmmakers through an assortment of masterclasses, workshops and individual mentoring sessions: Talents like Ben Sharrock (“Limbo”), Eva Riley (a recent winner BIFA winner for “Perfect 10”) and Rob Savage (“Host”) are alumni of the program. In 2019, however, the program yielded the Talent Lab Connects offshoot, in which a smaller selection of writers, directors and producers are given the chance to develop specific feature film or series projects with a range of industry mentors.
Now in its third year — and its second of the program taking place online — the program will be headed again by renowned U.K. script editor Kate Leys, whose recent credits include Simon Amstell’s “Benjamin,” Bart Layton’s “American Animals” and John Maclean’s “Slow West.”
Six projects have been selected for Talent Lab Connects:
“A Man at the Window”: Yorkshire-born 25-year-old writer and filmmaker Lucy Rose already has a long list of shorts to her name, including last year’s FrightFest-selected horror “She Lives Alone”; her first feature, with producer Maria Caruana Galizia (“Muscle”), will continue her exploration of that genre.
“Bloom”: Director Stefan Georgiou competed at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival with his witty romantic comedy “SexLife,” while his subsequent shorts have skipped between genres. For his debut feature, he’s collaborating with co-writer Declan Dineen and producer Dominique Webb.
“Daughter of Adam”: London Film School alum Fateme Ahmadi has racked up festival miles from Busan to Locarno with her short films, which span documentary and fiction: 2017’s “Bitter Sea” was BIFA-nominated, while her latest, “Leila’s Blues,” premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. She’s developing her first feature with producers Jack Tarling (a BAFTA nominee who steered “God’s Own Country” to glory four years ago) and Pietro Greppi (“Departure”).
“Evie”: Glasgow-based filmmaker Douglas King made a strong impression (and landed a BIFA Discovery Award nomination) with his 2018 debut feature “Super November,” an eccentric comedy written by and starring comedian Josie Long; for his follow up, he’s working with producer Kate Turner.
“Layla in Dreamland”: British-Lebanese writer-director Celine Cotran’s 2018 children’s short “The Time Tree” premiered at the Sarajevo Film Festival, while her 2019 short “Layla” followed a Syrian refugee in Margate who finds release in skateboarding. Her first feature, with regular producer Oliver Sunley, will be an expansion of the latter.
“Pram Snatcher” (pictured): Two of Theo James Krekis’ previous shorts, “Mangas” and “Memoirs of a Geeza,” previously premiered at the London Film Festival, with the latter being selected for a volume of the popular LGBTQ shorts compilations Boys on Film. His next project, with BAFTA-nominated producer Sorcha Bacon, follows a pregnant criminal and her partner as they wrestle with the pressure of becoming parents.
The program, which began online in April, will continue through to December.